Title: Benniworth Boiler Explosion 1913
Author: Unknown
Date: A March 2019 scan of an original 1913 photographic postcard

Engine-Driver's Death

The Inquest

The bursting of the boiler of a cultivating engine on Belmont Farm, Benniworth, on the 1st inst. (1st August 1913), has had a fatal sequel, one of the injured men, Thos. Blanshard, whose shoulder was dislocated, dying in the Lincoln County Hospital late on Saturday night. The deceased, who was 33 years of age, was foreman engine-driver to Messrs. Frearson and Bartholomew, agricultural implement owners, East Barkwith, and he lived at Thurlby, a parish adjoining Bilsby, near Alford. His two injured workmates, H. Marshall and F. Lowis, who are also being treated in the hospital, are reported to be making satisfactory progress.

The Board of Trade report on the accident concluded that the boiler was no less than 37 years old and the explosion occurred because it was unable to withstand the working pressure. A crack had been set up some years before by the normal pressure, by temperature stresses and by ploughing stresses transmitted by the drum spindle to the boiler. External corrosion had also played its part. From the evidence it appears that when the owners purchased the engine in 1912, they never had it examined by a competent person, and after the insurance policy had expired they took no steps to ascertain that the boiler was safe for a working pressure of 120 lb. They were rightly held by the Commissioners to blame. It cannot be too frequently and too rigidly impressed upon users of boilers that they are deaing with a highly dangerous explosive and that if they are ignorant of the technicalities of boiler design and maintenance themselves, the services of a qualified expert should be sought at frequent intervals. Very many boiler explosions are due to sheer ignorance, ignorance so dense that it does not know how little it knows and what danger it runs.

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